Google GMail Expands Browser Support
Google was fairly criticized when GMail came into existence. The web based mailing service from the search engine giant was quite impressive though used advanced technologies to function, which limited the support for the browsers available around. GMail was still appreciated for the advancements in functionalities it brought to the web based mail with its then impressive one Gig Capacity.
The limited support for the older browsers meant that GMail failed to work on Internet Explorer 5 and less known browsers like Opera and even Safari (initially). Google kept on improving the support to include Safari and Opera in the later stages. However, lack of support for browsers like Internet Explorer 5 and others meant that accessibility remained a problem for the users. The original installation of Windows 98 comes with Internet Explorer 5, which meant a lot of these computers could not access GMail unless they upgraded their IE to a newer version or moved onto alternative browsers like Firefox.
GMail promised to take care of this issue with a simple HTML interface that would work on even the barest of the web browsers. And now they have released it. It recognizes the capabilities of the browser user is using to access GMail and forwards the user to the relevant backend interface. The HTML interface is relatively crippled compared to the original version considering the lack of features in those browsers. GMail official statement says that following functionalities are somewhat missing in the HTML interface: Filter creation, Settings, Spell checker, Keyboard shortcuts, Address auto-complete.
The new interface is quite clean and more importantly, faster than both Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail. I also noticed that there were no adsense advertisements on this stripped-down version of the GMail. One problem however with this new interface is the lack of support for Opera Browser. The alternative browser company has updated the Opera Browser to version 8 Beta 2 which practically supported GMail fully before this interface was released by Google. Now Google takes the Opera user to the HTML interface rather than the fully functional GMail backend.
Sushubh Mittal is the Tech Columnist at Search Engine Journal, Editor of TechWhack, and a Fanatical Opera User